Philippa Donnellan

Dance Research Residency Philippa Donnellan
Phase 1: 4 July to 16 July and Phase 2: 5 December to 11 December 2022

Taking Flight: exploring themes of confinement and the power of the imagination
a collaboration with Justin Grounds (Musician/Composer) Justine Cooper (Dance Artist)

Taking Flight: exploring themes of confinement and the power of the imagination, led by Dance Artist, Philippa Donnellan, sets out to delve into the world of dreams and make believe inspired by personal experience, movement, music, and imagery.

What happens when your whole world is confined? How do you remain resilient? Can you experience a sense of freedom or autonomy? Might you inhabit another imaginative life where dreams, memories and fantasies allow you to fly?

'Over the past few years, I have witnessed several older people’s experiences of restricted living, of their becoming socially isolated and physically vulnerable – and of their resilience and capacity for joy, fun and devilment. These made me reflect on issues of fragility, autonomy and control, and the power of the imagination as a form of creative escape. I began to wonder about other people’s experiences in similar situations, and how I might respond artistically through creation of performance; considerations which led me to Uillinn and this residency' - Philippa Donnellan

Taking Flight is a dance residency led by Dublin based Choreographer Philippa Donnellan with dance artist Justine Cooper, and West Cork-based Musician/Composer Justin Grounds in a collaborative and interdisciplinary research. Supported by Uillinn's Arts for Health, West Cork programme and the network that the programme has established, the team of artists will creatively engage with health professionals, artists working in healthcare and older people attending day care and long-term healthcare settings, along with the wider West Cork community, building a network of connections to support the development of the work..

Public creative engagement – an opportunity to meet, dance, talk, and discover

Beginning in July (phase 1) will focus on field work with Philippa beginning conversations with arts and health professionals around some of the research themes and the complexities within. Philippa will be working with Justin Grounds to lead a series of imaginative dance/music workshops in healthcare centres and at Uillinn with invited participation throughout July. The workshops - inviting people to dance, dream, sing and share as they wish - are designed to provoke fresh ideas, new perspectives and inform the artist's research.

In December (phase 2), all three artists including Justine Cooper, will be primarily studio based to continue choreographic and musical experimentation. The collective will also be spending time connecting with the community network they built up in phase 1. It is anticipated that this phase of the research will lead to the outline of a contemporary dance theatre performance work for production development and performance in 2023.

As an artist who is inspired by lived experiences and motivated to uncover hidden stories and unknown tales, Philippa welcomes people to get in touch!

Philippa Donnellan is a choreographer based in Dublin. Originally from the UK, she is passionate about making dance theatre by engaging with people of all experiences and exploring themes that respond to the time and place in which we live. Most recently, as Curator of DL.BRIDGE, Dance Limerick’s public engagement programme, she has led a range of initiatives including an intergenerational project WOMEN & WORK, THE CONTRACT detailing the rigors of women’s experience of work, which was performed in Limerick Chamber offices for Culture Night 2021. Awarded a bursary by Kildare Arts Service in 2020 and a further award in 2022, she has begun an extended dance project concerning the changing nature of rural life and work with communities in Kildare and beyond.

Instagram: @philippadonnellan / Facebook: Philippa Donnellan

Philippa Donnellan has been awarded an Arts Council Dance Bursary 2022 to support this Research Residency at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre

This residency is supported by the Arts for Health Partnership Programme.

Photograph by Sheryl Tait.

Arts for Health is based in West Cork and provides a managed and integrated arts programme for older people in healthcare settings.

The Arts for Health programme is based on an inter-agency partnership between West Cork Arts Centre, Cork County Council's Arts Office, Cork Education & Training Board and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare. Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is represented by Cork South Community Work Department, the Nursing Directors of Community Hospitals and the Day Care Centres, West Cork. 

The Arts for Health partnership gratefully acknowledges the local support towards the programme with special thanks to Friends of the Hospitals and Day Care Centres.


WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.

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